Q: I just delivered our first child, and was told a lactation consultant can help me. What does a lactation consultant do?
A: Lactation consultants are professional breastfeeding specialists trained to help mothers, along with the healthcare team, with a variety of issues. They work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and private practice. Typically, a lactation consultant will work together with mothers and support their efforts to learn how to breastfeed their babies and to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems such as: latching difficulties, painful nursing, low milk production, or inadequate weight gain. She will help moms meet their breastfeeding goals when returning to work or school. She is also familiar with equipment and supplies that are helpful to breastfeeding mothers and infants.
To find a lactation consultant, visit the web site of the International Lactation Consultant Association: www.ilca.org. You may also ask childbirth educators, midwives, primary care physicians and nurses who know lactation consultants in your area.
By Jill Nettekoven, RN, lactation consultant, Theda Clark Birth Center and Appleton Medical Center Birth Center.